English title: No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!
Release date: July, 2013
Creator: Tanigawa, Nico (Manga, 2011)
Genre: Slice-of-life, Comedy, Tragedy
Story: Otome game obsessed Kuroki Tomoko has extensive experience in relationships and dated hundreds of boys... in otome games. In reality, Tomoko has never dated a guy and has lost contact with many of her friends from middle school. Now she's starting her first year of high school. What will become of (extremely) socially awkward Tomoko?
Review: This is the first time I've ever watched a tragic comedy genre anime. Combining the two themes creates an entirely new flavor which is something along the lines of bittersweet and sarcastic.
Tomoko is a character that touches the lonely soul in all of us. I can only cheer her on as she stumbles through the social obstacles of life. The way that she overly fantasizes and mentally spites those around her who seem happy gives her character a certain realism that isn't often seen. Sort of like what a person could be thinking deep down but never actually shows it on the outside.
Despite Tomoko's many tragic failures at trying to fit in and make friends (and the depressing mood that comes along with it), there are some instances where she does succeed in her own way; there's also many hilarious moments created in her attempts to socialize. One of my most favorite parts of the series is how Tomoko childishly torments her younger, more mature brother. She basically forces him to interact with her every so often or else she gets super dramatic and threatens to kill herself, lol.
Release date: October, 2011
Creator: Esuno, Sakae (Manga, 2006)
Genre: Supernatural, Horror, Action, Romance, Psychological
Story: Amano Yukiteru AKA, "Yuki," is a loner who spends most of his time blogging on his cell. He doesn't have any friends so he makes up two imaginary friends by the names of Deux Ex Machina, the God of time and space, and the servant Murmur. One day, Yuki's phone starts to post blogs before he can write them, clearly detailing events before they actually happen. At first Yuki is elated to find he has the power to tell the future with his new 'Mirai Nikki' or "Future Diary." This feeling soon ends when he discovers he's been put into a battle royale game with 11 other players by Deux who's not so imaginary after all. The last player living will be pronounced the new 'God' of time and space.
Review: I was looking for another 'survival game' kind of anime and eventually stumbled across "Mirai Nikki." What hooked me at first was the main character being a socially awkward boy who spends most of his time on his cellphone, blogging about his life. I guess I'll always love the socially awkward ones. The idea of mixing a supernatural power with modern technology such as a cellphone was really cool and I love the strategies they came up with. Personally, I had to pay really close attention to what was happening so I could understand explanations that came later.
The element of horror presents itself early in the series with the mystery behind the girl Yuno who's crazy obsessed over Yuki to the point of stalking him and doesn't bat an eye when it comes to killing. I really like the Yuki/Yuno story because she's so crazy yet he has to trust her as she's the one protecting him.
The stylized animation and facial expressions are very well done It's impressive what the animators did because of what little they had to work with; the manga doesn't have nearly as much expression in characters' faces compared to the anime.
I highly recommend people to watch "Mirai Nikki." It's a great survival game anime that has a nice blend of tactics and psychological horror.
Psycho - Pass
Release date: October, 2012
Creator: Shiotani, Naoyoshi; Urobuchi, Gen; Production I.G. (Anime, 2012)
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopia, Cyberpunk, Psychological, Drama, Action, Crime
Story: What if an individuals' criminal potential could be measured? Psycho Pass takes place in the future where a person's 'crime coefficient' can be measured through a cymatic brain scan. Tsunemori Akane starts her first day of work as an inspector for the Public Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation Division, Unit 1. She learns that she'll be working with people known as 'latent criminals' who have had their crime coefficients deemed too high with no chance of recovery. They use a weapon called "The Dominator" which can only fire at criminals with a high enough crime coefficient. Violent and disturbing crimes are being committed within the city and they suspect there is a mastermind pulling the strings.
Review: I got seriously mind-raped by this anime. I guess it's because I haven't watched a good psychological genre in a while. I love the high-tech environment and how society was under oppression by a higher intelligence. It's quite familiar, being a theme I see a lot in sci-fi.
The idea of people getting measured for their crime potentials or how dangerous they are is an intriguing proposal for 'the better of society' and I like that this anime explored what would happen if this system were to exist. All the characters were interesting and the antagonist was well fleshed out and had some understandable motives, despite how twisted he was.
There were some truly freaky episodes in this anime and it's scary because there's a high possibility that the messed up, psychotic people just like the ones in this show, exist in reality.